Why am I so shy? Is it related to fear and anxiety? Did something happen during my childhood or is it biological? Health websites and professionals tell us shyness is due to feeling fear or being self-conscious about what others are thinking. Shyness is linked to self-esteem, according to the professionals. But what if it is not fear or self-conscious actions related to self-esteem and those around us? Learn that it is okay to be shy and it can be unrelated to fear.
What it Means to be Shy and Why You Are Shy
A shy person tends to feel self-conscious about their words, how they talk or interact with others. Professionals will tell you it can be related to your genetics, environment or childhood bullying. Being shy can mean it is difficult for you to form relationships or can interfere in your work life. However, it is fine to be shy when it is natural introversion and not related to fear.
Biologically our genetics can lead a person to be more introverted or shy than others. A shy person may not wish to share their life or interact as much as others because they are fine being alone, not lonely, but alone. Being on your own, enjoying your company, and finding activities that stimulate your brain rather than being a social butterfly is correct and these desires are usually linked to genetics.
Health reasons can also affect your shyness. If you have a condition that makes you uncomfortable, such as excessive dry skin or hormone imbalances, you may develop shyness or social anxiety.
The environment you grew up in or are in can lead you to be shy. For example, if one or more parent is shy or less sociable, you may be less inclined to interact with others. If your work or life involves being alone or quiet more than interactive, you may start to be shy or introverted. The adage “Do not speak unless you have something to contribute or something nice to say,” can have a significant impact on how you interact based on your social environment.
Bullying can certainly create a situation where you feel uncomfortable and fear others. Shyness based on fear and anxiety typically develops from shaming as a child. Students may have “picked on” you for your clothing, your speech, how intelligent you are, or any number of things. Jealousy is the root for bullying and if you stood up to it, you could still end up being shy or thinking longer about contributing to a social situation.
Biology, environment, and shaming can be the cause of your shyness or you may equate one out of the three reasons for why you are shy. Identifying why you tend to be quiet and less interactive can help you correct your shyness in situations where it counts.
How Shyness Affects Your Life
Shyness can impact your ability to date, advance in your career, interact with friends, and have a healthy social life—based on the parameters of societal norms—rather than natural inclinations. Societal norms often believe it is wrong to be shy or introverted, and thankfully more introverts are proving this concept to be wrong.
Being shy as a guy and trying to date can have an enormous impact on finding the right woman. The internet has provided an avenue for more interaction even for introverted men. Talking online can be easier since you are not trying to come up with something to say when facing the prospective date. There are women out there that find shyness endearing, and sometimes shy people are even dragged out in public against their better judgment.
Advancing in your career is about speaking up. A shy person tends to be overlooked. Your boss may think you are content in your position and look for the more ambitious person who is vocal about gaining new heights. If you feel you are unable to get the raise or promotion you want, it may require you to speak with your boss and show them you are looking to make more of an impact at work.
The best part of friendship is when you have the right friends. They understand your shyness, never try to push you to work against your natural inclinations and leave you to be yourself when it matters. The trick is locating the people who are going to be the best friends for who you are. Again, the online world is one way to meet people who have the same interests as you.
Other methods are to find new people who are extroverted and explain that you are shy, but you enjoy their same activities. In the early years, such as in high school, this can be more difficult than in college or adulthood. Being on the fringe of groups because you enjoy the same activities can lead you to the right people, who are going to notice you.
Going out and being interactive is not typical for introverts and shy individuals. Yet, there are things you love, such as hearing live music, eating out and enjoying movies. You may not want to date a person or go with friends, but then again you might. When you are shy it is harder to meet people and interact, which can lead you to going to movies, events, and eating out on your own.
You can correct how your shyness affects your life. Your dating, career, friends, and social life can improve with some techniques shared here.
Adapting For My Shyness
Now that you have an answer for “Why am I so shy,” and how it affects your life, we can start working on a solution. Each person is different for the root cause of their introversion.
For example, a certain thyroid condition, where TSH, T4, and T3 are not produced correctly, can lead a person to have self-doubt, and develop social anxiety. Correcting the hormone levels can improve one’s mental outlook. The first step to improving your shyness is to discover any underlying biological, genetic, or health cause that may skew how you feel about yourself.
When shyness occurs because of environment or bullying during childhood, it is time to focus on techniques to improve your self-esteem.
- Examine the friends you have. Do they tease you good-naturedly or use you as a joking tool to be “witty” in front of everyone? If you believe your friends are not sincere in their appreciation of you, then it is time to find new people to be around. Sarcasm and jokes can be entertaining. However, when you are always the “butt of one’s jokes,” you need to look for someone else to be around.
- Who else is in your life that may help or hinder your self-confidence? Look at the relationships you have and decide if they are healthy. A healthy relationship is one where the person supports you, tells you that you are talented, and builds you up with true words.
- In the workplace, do you have a boss that occasionally notices your work effort? Bosses are not going to respond all the time when you are doing something correct. However, the best bosses will take time to compliment you and that can help build your confidence in the workplace. For example, your boss might notice you have a good head for business aspects versus being social with clients. Take the compliment and do not worry about the weakness.
- Each day focus on the positive. It takes effort. Our brains remember the negativity more than the positive. You do not have to look in the mirror, write things down, or talk aloud to boost your confidence. Thinking about your attributes is sometimes all it takes.
- When you go to a club, movie, restaurant, or other place to hang out and potentially meet someone to date, before you walk in, think of at least one positive attribute you have. You will stand taller, literally, and walk in with confidence. You want to make a confident first impression.
The best dating advice you can remember from a female perspective, as a male, is to own your downsides because this makes you more confident. Use your shyness to your advantage. Shy people observe, they notice things social people overlook because they are too busy talking. Women like nothing more than for a guy to notice their new haircut, color, clothing, or personal items. Shy women love it, when they are noticed, and when a guy makes an effort.
Body language is another way for you to work your shyness. Stand or sit with proper posture, let your eyes connect for a few seconds before taking in the room or space you are in, and keep your body “open.” Crossing your arms, avoiding eye contact, and frowning are signs that you are closed off. Keeping your body relaxed shows you are shy, but willing to interact. A confident woman will come to you and try to get you to talk, all you need to do is be willing.
If you want to have a book recommendation on this topic, then check out Overcoming Shyness by Eric Myers.